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LVII

HEATHEN IL-KHANS OF PERSIA      185
succeed to the throne, Arghun, the eldest son of Abaga,
being passed over. Tagudar, who had been baptized a
Christian under the name of Nicolas, proclaimed himself
a Moslem under the name of Ahmad upon his accession,
and despatched an embassy to Kalaun of Egypt to announce
the fact and to make profession of his friendly intentions.
These were reciprocated by the Mameluke sovereign, who,
however, forced the Mongol ambassadors to travel at
night, and was careful not to allow them to have any
contact with his subjects.
Arghun, being dissatisfied with the results of the
election, rebelled, and being defeated took refuge in the
natural fortress of Kalat-i-Nadiri, where the entrance
towards the west is still known as Darband-i-Arghun, or
Argawan. He was, however, induced to submit to his
uncle, who received him kindly but kept him in confine-
ment. Meanwhile a strong party in the army, which
resented Ahmad's conversion to Islam and the favour
shown to Moslems, conspired to rescue the young Prince.
The army declared for the latter and Ahmad fled, but was
captured and killed by having his back broken.
The Reign of Arghun^ A.H. 683-690 (1284-1291).
The reign of Arghun was not eventful, and for some years
there was nothing worthy of record except a conspiracy
formed by Boukai, who had been instrumental in rescuing
him from his uncle's hands and had been given almost
supreme power. This plot was revealed, and Boukai and
his family with the other conspirators were put to death.
The execution caused a rebellion in Khorasan, which was
the appanage of Ghazan, son of Arghun, and Ghazan's
general rebelled from fear of being put to death as a
friend of the late conspirator. He attacked Ghazan, who
was encamped on the banks of the Kashaf Rud, the river
of Tus and of Meshed, but the Prince succeeded in
escaping, only, however, to be defeated later on near Tus.
Ghazan rallied his forces at Kalposh near Nardin, and
having received strong reinforcements, was able to drive
the rebel general out of Persia.
Arghun during his short reign evinced much favour
towards Christians, and made proposals in 1289, and again